Situated by the western shore of Lake Hjälmaren in Närke, Orebro is Sweden’s sixth largest town with about 135,000 inhabitants. Thanks to its location on both sides of Svartån river, it has been a center for trade since the Middle Ages. Named the “Student City of the Year” in 2010-2011, Orebro is also known for its water tower Svampen, Wadkoping open-air museum, its public outdoor art exhibition OpenART, and as a city ideal for walking.
Orebro has an attractive downtown core of several shopping districts, four arcades and shopping malls. Most shops, from exclusive boutiques and specialty shops to popular chain stores, are located along Köpmangatan, Kungsgatan, Drottninggatan, and Storgatan, as well as around the squares Stortorget and Våghustorget.
Managed by the National Property Board and the official residence of the county governors since 1767, Orebro Castle, a former bastion part of Sweden’s defences, dates back to the 14th century. The castle is now home to an historical exhibition in the northwest tower, a gift shop, information center, café and restaurant.
S:t Nicolai Church
Orebro’s principle church since the Middle Ages is situated on Stortorget Square and is one of the town’s most historic places. Open Monday to Saturday, Sunday for service.
Orebro City Park
Orebro City Park is located by the river opposite Stora Holmen island. Voted Sweden’s most beautiful park in 2004, it has a Botanical Garden, greenhouses, themed gardens, Rhododendron park, sculptures, open air theater, a playground, tennis courts, a shop and café.
Karslunds Recreation Area
A kilometer west of the city, Karslund with its manor house, English park, walking paths, well-preserved old buildings and handicraft artists is a loved recreation area in Orebro.
With 180 km of cycle and walking paths, Örebro is a real bike town – you can reach the countryside within 20 minutes. A cycle trip along Svartån river makes for a great outing a sunny day.
Orebro County Museum
Orebro Concert Hall
Especially beautiful at night, Orebro Concert Hall is home to the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, one of the most praised European ensembles.
Where to Stay
Livin’ Hotel and Youth Hostel
Livin’s slogan “room for everyone” was well chosen. As a combined low-price hotel with single and double rooms, apartment hotel for weekly or monthly rent and hostel with rooms for one to eight persons, Livin’ can cater to backpackers, single budget travelers, couples, friends, families, weekly commuters, and even business travelers.
Previously award-winning hostel Grenadjären, they recently moved into renovated premises only 10 minutes walk from Resecentrum train and bus hub and is now part of exclusive Sweden Hotels.
My modern single hotel room on the fifth floor had a private bathroom with shower, small wooden desk fixed to the wall, an armchair and a little table below the TV, a ’90 bed, free Wi-Fi, large window, view of apartments across the street, and an appreciated take on lightning (with two ceiling lamps and silver lamps for work, reading and the bed). While I didn’t find the interior color choices very flattering, I loved how the three squared black-and-white images on the wall gave more personality to the room. Sensitive sleepers will benefit from ear plugs as the room is far from sound-proof.
The guest kitchen on the second floor, which is free to use for all guests, is one of the more spacious and cleanest hostel guest kitchens I have seen and makes cooking an equally attractive option as eating out. Guests who prefer otherwise can get 10% discount at Paco’s Mexican Grill and 10% at La Gondola. Livin’ also recommends nearby supermarkets and restaurants.
There’s a sauna on the sixth floor, laundry onsite and at Nordtvätten across the street, bike rental in summer, guest computer by the reception, and discounted work out sessions at nJoy 150m away. A free hotel-standard breakfast is served in the breakfast room every morning. Not a bad deal for the price of a hostel dorm bed or an affordable hotel room.
Another reason to stay at Livin’ is that they employ people who were born outside of Sweden and those who are long-term unemployed through their work with Corporate Social Responsibility.